As I write, the sirens outside my Brooklyn apartment remind me of the complicity between bones, blood and government. With a rare planetary alignment of Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto—one that hasn’t occurred in thousands of years—overtures sounding new judicial dynasties now begin to form on the bones and blood of many generations. The week of March 29th roars in with ambulatory blares transmogrifying into the smoky omens of a nascent city-state, a form of government in a liminal realm as yet unclear, appearing as a fragmented cyber-image too fleeting to hold any certain guidelines about our situation. Without reliable long-term direction, the smoke signals challenge us to create boundaries that hold action-streams bearing light and regeneration. How is it possible to lead with the vital enthusiasm for mental and physical exercise instead of the morbid masks passing through our dreams and the news cycle?
The iron-pumping fighters for love and justice transform into apotropaic maneuvers against primordial terror: exercise this week shows up as rest (for the privileged), struggles for survival, anxious waiting, terrifying phantasms, and strength-gathering. Discipline and frenzy coincide on parallel streams or parallel time-tracks, or with one in time and the other in the timeless. But who administers our action-flow? To what extent do we possess agency over this administration? And if unexpected realizations about going forward arrive, can we go forward spontaneously? The need to make peace with structure while not feeling trapped characterizes the tension we experience in domestic, interior and bureaucratic spheres.
We feel this tension acutely this week, culminating in a conjunction of Jupiter and Pluto, with warlike Pallas Athena and tyrannical Saturn close by. Jupiter, harbinger of expansion and growth, meets Pluto, lord of the Underworld, overseeing the light that shines through the ashes of post-death transformation. An autonomous force beneath the decay casts a luminous beam to the side of our view, which, if aimed directly at our eyes, would blind us. But some sorcerers swear they’ve heard Pluto himself whisper this promise: if a mere mortal gazes upon the heap of decay long enough to receive the side apparition of the light beam, the antidote to loss-aversion graces their soul.
In mythology, Jupiter and Pluto are brothers: Jupiter the life of the party, Pluto the most powerful. Nobody, not even Jupiter, overrules Pluto’s chthonic judgment. A culture in monotheist-materialist death rattles polarizes this pair with Jupiter (Zeus: “shine,” “lightener”) on the pedestal and Pluto in the gutter, or in the shudder. It’s up to us, now, to help these brothers support each other instead of running on independent agendas, which is no small task, given that a keyword for astrological Jupiter is “growth,” and late capitalist New Age self-development looks upon growth in an uncritically positive light. But as revolutionary psychologist James Hillman reminds us, “When you have too much growth, it’s cancer.”
Growth serves as a reminder of light—growing seems to equal happiness—but the accumulation of happiness-reminders falls short of its light-bearing source. Whereas the growth of the happiness-reminders only leaves the pull of human longing with a pile of hapless relics, witnessing decay and grieving the dead opens the way for the life-giving whir composed from the collaboration of Jupiter and Pluto to enter. If we fail to bear witness to the cinders of corruption, growth goes manic, forcing the heavens and the underworld to forge an aggressive light that pierces through the happy-hapless-densities of earthly comfort straight into our retinas.
“Stay in your homes,” they say. Whether literal homes or interior, psychic space, resting in a nesting base is important. As red-eyed warrior Mars moves into Aquarius, nudging up against taskmaster Saturn, it’s a week to love the holding power of a container large enough for the invigoration of steady, constructive impulses within their structure. But uncertainties broil and freeze: will we be masters of our own domains? Will we be dictators? Will we live in servitude to outside despots?
The answers depend on the degree to which we bear witness to the form of the container itself: Will we stay home and administer our energy? Will we feel the power of stillness? And perhaps most important of all, will we remember the natural clarity of our bodies? There’s a desperate need to reclaim skeleton and blood, a necessity that makes a contentious bedfellow with speedy cyberspace. While the internet inspires structure, reminding us that that we must stand in solidarity to defeat inner and outer enemies, the task of claiming foundation, bearing witness to the ashes of those lost, and administering our virtuous action through rightful channels, belongs to bones and blood.
Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto last joined forces in the sign of Capricorn in 1894 BC, the year of the founding of Babylon, which began as a tiny village in the middle of a vast planet. Babylon soon became a dynasty that transformed world justice and human rights. The rare 2020 conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, occurring for the first time since 1894 BC, sets the stage for the seeds of a city-state unlike any other in history, existing now only as a dream image of a floating vessel too fragile to confirm. News about cyber-currency, including proposals for the digital dollar, suggests this seedling government will unravel online, its first iteration a cocktail of solidarity, sadism, dark eros, hypertrophied information and propaganda. It’s possible that the new face of bureaucracy has become so commonplace it’s right at our fingertips.
While embracing the surges of internal innovation that the vitalized beings on the front lines of this future source of human collaboration bring, it’s important to remember that the true roots of any revolution of hierarchy structures lie in the blood and the bones—of ourselves and of our ancestors. Let us bear witness to the decay through which their light may shine.